Biggie Smalls, aka The Notorious B.I.G. was gunned down on March 9, 1997 while at the height of his fame in the rap industry. At the time, he and nemesis Tupac Shakur were caught in the middle of the infamous East Coast – West Coast hip hop rivalry that cost them both their lives.
Now, over 20 years later, REELZ’s new docuseries, Notorious BIG & Tupac Shakur: It Happened Here is recounting the untold story of the rap legend’s rise and fall inside his Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood.
“This is the hustling ground where Biggie Smalls hustled at,” says former pal, DJ 50 Grand, in a new show teaser. “This whole strip, that whole strip: this is where it all happened.”
B.I.G. made a name for himself in Brooklyn by entering rap battles with other locals in the area. Smalls’ pal said it was a way for others to “claim your turf.”
“The guys went home sad,” the friend recalled, “[because] they couldn’t touch him. They couldn’t touch B.I.G.”
The legend later began rapping in St. Marks Place, freestyling with friends as his music reached even wider audiences.
“I don’t know if Biggie was the best rapper of all time, but no one ever put words together better than Biggie,” says Jeff Weiss, Author Tupac vs. Biggie, in the video teaser. “That voice too was just incredible. It was a booming, tuba of a voice. He could rap in any style, he could rap with anybody.”
Notorious BIG & Tupac Shakur: It Happened Here airs Saturday, March 31 at 10 ET / PT on REELZ.